Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada

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Grant not in keeping with restraint

The $5,000 grant request from the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival seems a small thing, and it is. But Woolwich council made the right choice in turning it down.

The township will find itself in a more difficult financial position this year. Much of that is of its own making: this week’s wage settlements do not mesh with private-sector realities, nor with the need for cuts rather than significant increases to the municipality’s single-largest expenditure. Then there’s the recent building binge to pay for, compounded by having to find a replacement source for more than $1 million Woolwich had expected from the Victoria Glen development.

As councillors heard at this week’s meeting, the township and every other municipality can expect the flood of infrastructure money to begin drying up, along with other funding from the federal and provincial governments.  Having raised taxes far above inflationary levels for several years, Woolwich can’t keep returning to that well. The 2010 budget target is already an out-of-sync four per cent, including two per cent for the new facilities levy, now in its last year – there’s no room to manouevre.

As for in-kind contributions, the township provides those as a matter of course. If the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena were to be idle, the ice out, it might have been easy for council to make it available to the EMSF committee. However, the potential loss of revenue and the associated costs with temporarily covering the ice to host festival-related events makes the idea a nonstarter.

What’s more, the cost to the township would be well beyond what the festival typically raises from the event it hopes to offer at the arena – the numbers just don’t add up.

Prorogation really is an issue

Stephen Harper and his supporters were sure the backlash against the latest use of prorogation was notable only to the media looking for conflict and opposition partisans creating a tempest in a teacup.
Somebody apparently forget to tell the rest of the country’s residents this was a non-issue.

A new poll from EKOS shows the Conservatives took a major hit in public support, largely due to perception the government has something to hide and manipulated the rules to cover it up. The party, which was comfortably in majority territory just three months ago, now finds itself struggling to stay ahead of the opposition Liberals. The Tories had 30.0 per cent support compared to 29.3 for the Liberals (the NDP has 15.3, the Green Party 11.9 and the Bloc 10.2).

“For those who have been speculating as to whether Canadians really care about the ‘obscure’ issue of prorogation the evidence is now incontrovertible,” said EKOS President Frank Graves.  “Canadians have noticed, they do care and this is having a very negative impact on Conservative fortunes.”

Harper is further hampered by the perception he’s been playing fast and loose with Parliament in order to avoid accountability, putting his ambitions ahead of democracy.

With almost 190,000 members, The Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament Facebook group is a fair indication the public actually does care about the issue, yet another case where Harper has misjudged our priorities.

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